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Hunt for Palladium Riches Sends South African Miners Abroad

  • Implats agrees to acquire Canada’s North American Palladium
  • Geographical diversification hedges southern Africa risk
Copper And Nickel Excavation And Production At Russia's Biggest Miner OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
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Southern Africa is home to the world’s richest platinum deposits, but when Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. pondered how to invest its windfall profits it chose North America instead.

The acquisition of North American Palladium Ltd. is partly a bet on platinum’s sister metal palladium continuing to rally, while Implats Chief Executive Officer Nico Muller has also stressed the appeal of a relatively quick payback from low-cost, mechanized assets. However, the deal is also a geopolitical play as the Johannesburg-based miner seeks to balance exposure to its more volatile home region.